500 West Ashley students learn about vehicle safety

April 27 19:48 2017 Print This Article

Nearly 500 West Ashley High School (WAHS) students learned about the risk of impaired driving and distracted driving at the school’s annual Vehicle Safety Day. The event was sponsored by the High School Injury Prevention Coalition (HSIPC). The tri-county organization of hospitals and first responders teaches students about this risks of driving recklessly. You can read about the organization here: https://www.hsipc.org

Regina Creech from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) noted that motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of injuries at the hospital’s trauma unit and that teens and inexperienced drivers are at the highest risk. The HSIPC had representatives from Charleston Police Department, Charleston County EMS, Charleston County Fire and Rescue, MUSC and other first responder agencies at the event.

Students navigated rows of boundary cones with goggles which impair vision and while texting on their cell phones driving golf carts at 2 mph. All of the students knocked over cones. Students also did simulated field sobriety tests with the goggles and were briefed by first responders on the nature of injuries sustained as the result of car crashes.

EMS supervisor Carl Fehr told the students, “We want you to be able to make good decisions when you get behind the wheel and understand the consequences of driving when you are not completely alert and in control.” The event occurred days before the WAHS prom, when students are most likely to exhibit risky driving behavior.

Police officers advised students about South Carolina’s zero tolerance law for drivers under the age of 21 testing positive for any blood alcohol content (BAC). They can be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence. The goggles for the field sobriety test simulated BAC levels above the legal limit for drivers 21 or older, and students realized that they could not walk a straight line with impaired vision.